Chapter 5

Maximize Effectiveness of your Phone Support

Emily Gregor
Sr. Content Marketing Lead

Phone support has stood the test of time, the advent of new support channels and the introduction of AI and automation. The reassurance provided by a human who personifies your brand has an unparalleled advantage. How do you ensure you make the most of your high-impact support channel? 

A Connected Tech-stack 

Many customer support teams treat their call support/ call center teams as a separate unit. While it eases the operational load and sometimes allows outsourcing it to a BPO, it comes in the way of consistent customer service. 

Connecting your cloud-based phone system to essential business tools will save time and money while providing a stronger customer experience. You’ll have access to essential customer information, including contact info, names, and order numbers. You’ll have everything you need to get customer queries answered fast while keeping track of every conversation. 

Obsessive Focus on Metrics and SLAs

During the busy holiday season, setting your team up for success is critical. To help them perform at their best, ensure you’re tracking the right call metrics.

Some of our go-to call metrics include:

First-call resolution rate

In our 2021 survey of nearly 6,000 eCommerce shoppers across seven countries, 33% of respondents considered first-call resolution rate as the gold standard of customer service interactions.

To achieve a higher rate, you need to equip your staff with the tools and customer service skills they need to resolve issues. This could be developing a comprehensive knowledge base or training agents to listen actively and respond to a customer’s pain points quickly and empathetically.

Average Wait Times

If customers have to wait longer than five minutes to get a response, you’re pretty much guaranteed to lose them. 

If your average wait time is consistently high, there are a few areas to focus on. First, make sure you have enough people on your team to handle busy periods. Beyond that, make sure that you provide strong onboarding materials and offer ongoing training to keep your team’s skills sharp. 

One way to gauge whether or not you have enough people in the first place is to take a look at your call volume during the holiday season and compare it with how many people were available to take incoming calls (you can also take this time to look at your missed-call rate).

Average Call Length

Another call metric to keep in mind is call length. While you want to make sure your team is providing thorough answers to customer questions, if call lengths are too long, you might need to provide more thorough training to help agents answer questions more quickly. 

It also could be a sign that your self-service options (like knowledge bases and FAQ pages) need a refresh. 

How to Prevent Mistakes

While we can’t wave a magic wand and guarantee you’ll have a seamless holiday season, we can give you the tools you need to start on the right foot. 

The best way to prepare for a busy period like the holidays is to start early. And we mean early. Start onboarding new team members three to six months beforehand to ensure they’re ready to handle the Black Friday/Cyber Monday rush. 

We also recommend setting up analytics dashboards and KPIs up-front to fine-tune your team’s performance over time instead of switching things up at the last minute. 

Ultimately, the better your holiday prep is, the better your busy season will go.